In a weekend summed up by resting key players and with an eye towards the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped their last two games of the regular season in extra time. First a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, followed up by a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.
Strategically, the Pens took their foot off the gas- resting two of their most physical players in Chris Kunitz and Brooks Orpik for the game against Philly and then giving three workhorses this season in Sidney Crosby, Brandon Sutter and Matt Niskanen the night off on Sunday. Evgeni Malkin did not play in either game as he looks to come back from a foot injury.
Beyond that, there's not a ton to say- the Pens main goal was health and they seemingly accomplished that this weekend, when they found out they'd be facing the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
One bright spot for the Penguins was the play of defenseman Kris Letang. In just his second and third games back from a stroke, Letang scored 1 goal and 2 assists on the weekend and generally appeared to be his "good" old self- leading rushes, making smart plays with the puck, eating a ton of ice-time (with a game high 26:52 last night). It's about impossible to imagine a better case scenario for the Pens than how Letang played given the circumstances, which hopefully will lead to playoff play.
Other than that, it's about time to put the regular season in the rear-view mirror and get prepped for the Blue Jackets series, which will begin on Wednesday.